If you can't make it better you can laugh at it. ~Erma Bombeck


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Glimpses of true normal

Today was a really great day with My Girl. I picked her up at work at 11:30 and, since we were both starving, headed to get something to eat. As usual, she fell asleep in the car. When we got close to the restaurant I nudged her so she could start waking up. In that moment of half sleep, with her eyes still closed, she said, "I love you, Mommy. Thank you for everything you do for me."

After lunch we went shopping for a while and she was as much concerned with me finding a new pair of shorts as she was about finding some for herself. When she mentioned wanting to look at the shoes (she's a shoe-aholic!) I said that was fine, but we weren't buying any because she doesn't need anymore shoes. She didn't whine, beg, pitch a fit, or even complain!

Tonight, Hubby took us out to our favorite Italian place. She was delightful. She even told her new male interest that she'd have to call him back after we finished eating. I nearly choked on my lasagna!

When we got home I told her I'd really like her to at least attempt to clear an emergency exit path in the room from hell. She not only did that, she cleaned picked up her bathroom and did a load of laundry.

Ok, now I have to admit I'm beginning to get a little worried about what she may have done that she's buttering me up for. But I'm going to revel in the moment and try not to hold my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. I can't dwell on it. I have to believe that today is a small ray of light shining in what has lately been a pretty dark time.

Days like today keep me hanging on. These small glimpses of true normal make it worth the fight.

Don't laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find a face of his own. ~Logan Pearsall Smith, "Age and Death," Afterthoughts, 1931

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Update on My Girl

As promised ...

In the week before the oblivion we spent a lot of time going to appointments with her doctor, counselor, probation officer. We also picked up applications at every place we thought might be willing to hire a 16 YO. The end result of it all is that:

1. The PO agreed not to put her back in lockup as long as she is working, attending GED classes, and following all her court orders.
2. SHE GOT A JOB! YAY! I am now the proud parent of a Kroger bagger/basket pusher.

At home she alternates between her traumatic ages (3, 8, & 10) and being a normal snot-nosed bratty teenager determined to move out on her own as soon as she can get enough money together to pay for her own place. I handle the latter much better than the former.

It is getting harder and harder for me to deal with her regressions because I know that if she doesn't decide to get a handle on them soon they will interfere with her job and probation status. Nobody in the outside world is going to put up with a kid her age throwing an 8 YO tantrum when she doesn't get her way.

Did you ever hear about the time when the speaker at a preachers' conference asked folks to stand and tell everyone their favorite bible verse? Well, this old, rugged, gray-haired preacher stood and said, "I've lived a long life. Been at the pulpit for more than 50 years. In all that time I've learned a thing or two, and through all I've experienced I've held onto one phrase that is repeated over and over: It came to pass." All the other younger, smarter, better educated preachers just stared at him. Finally, the speaker broke the silence when he asked why on earth he'd chosen that particular phrase to hang onto. The wise old preacher replied, "In times of trial it keeps me strong because I know the good book said that it came to pass, not that it came to stay."

That's kind of where I am right now. Hanging onto the fact that it came to pass. That God has a plan for her and for me, and He's not going to let it stay this hard forever.

I leave you with a few of my favorites of late:

Joshua 21:45: Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

Psalm 105:19: Until the time that his word came to pass, The word of the LORD tested him.

Adolescence is perhaps nature's way of preparing parents to welcome the empty nest. ~Karen Savage and Patricia Adams, The Good Stepmother

Friday, April 25, 2008

Back from Oblivion

In the immortal words of Minnie Pearl

I’m more or less back. Thanks to lots of wonderful prayers and well-wishes it’s more more than less. OK – so that didn’t make a lot of sense. Maybe the drugs still haven’t completely worn off?? Muddling on...

For those of you who emailed me wanting to know what the heck I did to myself, I have one thing to say: I HAVE NO FREAKIN’ IDEA! It started Thursday with something that felt like a cramp on the outside of my right calf. By Friday, it had expanded to my thigh and felt more like a charliehorse. Saturday the charliehorse got worse after I mistakenly tried to work it out by doing yard work. On Sunday morning I couldn’t move my leg more than a few inches and my foot started tingling so I decided it was time to visit the nice people at the emergency care place up the road. They are very lovely people who gave me wonderful drugs so that even though the pain wasn’t all gone, I diiiiduuunt caaaaayeeeerrr.

Several of you suggested taking the time to read a good book. I would have loved that! However, after a thorough and lengthy inspection of the inside of my eyelids I determined that there are no holes in them that would allow for such taxing activity. And since the nice drugs made it impossible for me to keep my eyes open, no reading. I birthed two babies – an 8-1/2 pounder and a 7-1/2 pounder. And I did it the hard way with no pain meds. None. (Well ½ a shot of Demerol with the second one, but that’s another story – tee hee hee!) And I was induced both times which, I’m told, produces a harder labor than normal (whatever “normal” might be). But I am here to tell you that pushing those two watermelons out of my body was NOTHING compared to the pain associated with that pinched nerve thing. There was no way I was going to give up my pain meds for a little literary indulgence.

There was one really bad side effect to all the muscle relaxants and pain killers. Ummm, apparently several weeks of 16-hour, 130 mile round trip days isn’t the only thing that can cause a Colorado River sized log-jam of constipation. I discovered that the combination of drugs I was taking works even faster. Usually when I have a problem it’s related to tension and if I just sit there and relax a little, things start moving. So I sat. Waiting. And waiting. As I relaxed I closed my eyes and tried to visualize a calm, peaceful river running through my body carrying all the timber downstream toward a waterfall. Suddenly, I was startled from my exercise in guided imagery by my dog pawing at my lap. Yep, you guessed it: I fell.asleep.on the toilet! How doped up does somebody have to be to fall asleep on the john?? You can now understand why I’m glad to be back and almost drug free. I’m going to continue to take the Flexeril and the Motrin and save the Vicodin for the next time I need to take a nap. On the pooper.

Again, thank you for all your prayers. It’s wonderful to feel so loved!

Coming tomorrow: An update on my Girl. I promise.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


That's what I feel like I've been playing since my last post. I managed to pinch a nerve in my back and have been mostly out. Drugs are gooooood. But they haven't dulled the pain enough for me to spend much time sitting at the computer. I'm feeling better now, though. Some. I'll be back around to check on everyone as soon as I'm able.

Thanks for the prayers that I know you are sending up for me right this moment 'cuz that's just the kind of loving people you are.

Peace and blessings for you. And sweet Oblivion for me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Distinctive and Blingy Awards

It's great being blonde - with such low expectations it's easy to impress. Pamela Anderson

I guess we need to raise the bar or something, because I’ve been honored with a couple of really wonderful awards:

This was given to me by Debby Yost over at THREE WEDDINGS or Die Trying.

It was created by Working Mum On The Verge to honor blogs that make you, "think, laugh, cry or sigh." The only rule is you should pass it to another 5 blogs. This will be difficult since so many blogs I read fall into this category. I will pass it on to:

Jill at Thou Shalt Not Whine because I cannot go there before I take a potty break or without a box of tissues because I know I’ll be laughing so hard I’m leaking from one end or the other OR BOTH before I leave!

Jules at Just Because because I’m touched not only by her words but by her wonderful photographs.

Jennifer at Siguiendo Mi Catracho because any woman who is brave enough and strong enough to move her 7 children all the way to Honduras to be with her husband and to try to make life better for the children there, and who can maintain her sense of humor in the process, has my undying respect and admiration.

Angela at angelawd because she is smart, funny, talented, loving and strong.

Kalynne at The Philosopher-Mom because anybody who can stay sane while raising 9 kids and wrangling 135 students AND be hilarious in the process is one amazing chick!

This tiara is what Angie over at Keep Believing called BLING. Nobody but Hubby ever gave me BLING before! Thanks, Angie, I’ll wear it with pride.

There are a couple of others that I can see wearing these crown jewels, too.

Lisa over at Rollin’ With The Punches does this mommy thing the hard way: From a wheelchair. Her 6 wild injuns insaniacs angels are really cute, too.

And, in my traditionally non-traditional way of doing things, I’m awarding this to Mylhibug – the DADDY blogger over at Bug Tries Again just because I get a kick out of his wit and willingness to be silly. And any man who can hold his own in the mommy blogverse deserves a crown!

Thank you, Debbie and Angie. I am so honored that you deem me worthy of your praise.

Peace, Blessings, and Honor to you all.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Miracle Monday: Ordained Employment

In December 1979 I was the proud, almost single, totally unemployed, mother of a 6-month-old baby boy. After complaining about the unwanted advances of a manager with 4 kids and a wife at home I was told that my services were no longer necessary. In those days there was no such thing as sexual harassment or wrongful termination lawsuit fear. If women complained, they were fired. And if they dared to raise a stink, they were blacklisted. Couple this experience with the devastation of my marital meltdown and any relationship with men was understandably not high on my Christmas wish list. Thankfully, I was living in my parent’s home and didn’t have to worry about how to care for my little Bug. After Christmas, I hit the bricks running, hoping to find a job that paid enough for me to be able to move us out on our own as soon as possible. In His infinite wisdom, however, God had already decided that I needed some more time there and arranged it so that I didn’t find another job until the perfect one that met His plan’s requirements presented itself.

I was so sick of going on interviews that I almost didn’t accept the one at the big steel fabrication company that was over 20 miles away from home. The employment agency lady (I wish I could remember her name!) was so sweet and had worked so hard for me, though, that I didn’t really have the heart to turn her down. Like her, they thought that I was perfect for their junior buyer position since I had both purchasing and previous steel fabrication shop experience. They hired me on the spot, pending the outcome of my background and employment history verifications which would take several days to complete. The next Monday, I was thrilled to be finally starting the new job.

Upon arriving I sat in the Personnel Department lobby talking to a woman who was also starting that day as the secretary for the engineering group. We were both glad to have met so that we’d have someone to grab lunch with on that always scary first day. I was thrilled to hear that she’d wanted to work at this company so badly that she turned down another very nice job in order to get into one more in line with her career plans. It lessened my fears that I’d made a mistake in going to work for yet another male dominated company.

After about an hour of us sitting there, the manager of the Personnel Department took me in his office and informed me that a woman who had been out on medical leave had returned. He had just learned that she wanted the position and, since they had a strong policy of promoting qualified staff from within, they were obligated to give her the job. He was so very sorry and embarrassed by the whole thing, but his hands were tied. I wanted to claw his eyes out, but instead I took a deep breath and let him off the hook. I knew that if I had been that woman, I’d have wanted the same fair treatment. All I needed to do was call my agent and tell her what had happened and let my new friend know that she’d need to find another lunch buddy.

After spending what seemed like an eternity on hold, I was finally put through. She answered in an excited, out of breath giggle. “I’m SO glad you called! I just hung up with the people who have YOUR job.” When I’d first signed up with her we talked at length about my strong interest in the emerging data processing field. There was just something about computers that made sense to me. I loved the new technology and my fondest wish was to find a way to get into that world.

“Are you dressed for an interview?” she asked. Well, yes, I had just been dumped at the employment altar, so I really was all dressed up with no place to go. “Great! I want you to go across the freeway and talk to the Director of Data Processing. They don’t know it yet, but their position has just been filled!” Her excitement was contagious and I found myself actually feeling really good about my job prospects for the first time in weeks. The woman knew her stuff. They hired me on the spot, accepting the agency’s background and employment history investigations. I started work immediately.

So where’s the miracle? It is in that fact that this past weekend I celebrated 27 years of mostly blissful marriage to one of the three men I went to work for at the company that God had prepared for my arrival. As it turned out, the woman who was supposed to be starting that day as their data processing secretary had called Friday afternoon to say she’d found a better job. At a steel fab company across the freeway.

More of today's Miracle Monday posts.

If you would like to share your life's miracles, or just read about those in other people's lives, please join us at A Mom's Life every Monday. Believe me, you will be blessed and uplifted by the experiences shared.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pushing through the storm...

I am a problem solver. I've learned that no solution is possible without a solid plan, so we've come up with one for My Girl (Since that's what I call her most of the time anyway, that's what her new handle her is going to be, by the way. "Daughter" just sounded too aritificial.):

1. GED classes because there is no way she'll be able to thrive in public school and she won't allow me to teach her at home.
2. Get a job. She will not be allowed to lay around all day long doing nothing. For the time being, starting Monday, she will be working for me. I'll teach her some secretarial skills like filing and accounting (what little I know about it, anyway!). In the mean time, she's to continue to apply at other places to obtain truly gainful employment.
3. Complete her community service hours.

The plan settled my mental stresses, but my emotional stresses were still pretty unsettled. However, I have now reached an emotional place where I am mostly OK. All of the prayers and good wishes that have come in are SO uplifting and encouraging. The icing on the cake, though, came from my efforts to encourage and support Angela Williams Duea over at angelawd. (As a quick aside: I love that her name is phonetically Angel Awed because she has such a strong faith and I know she is surrounded by loving angels and is awed by the strength and peace they give her.) I was typing a comment on her "I'm not in Minnesota" post (go read it if none of my post makes sense, it will help) and all of this just came pouring out. It came from somewhere so deep inside me that I know that MY angels were helping me find the words I, myself, needed to hear. The next thought was that I needed to share it with all the wonderful earthly angels here.

I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that this wonderfuly kind and loving God who put us here and allowed us to bond and love so strongly would not just, POOF!, make it all disappear when we reach his doorstep.

I KNOW - absolutely and beyond any doubt - that my loved ones are still around me. I KNOW that I feel them, smell them, hear their words in my heart when I'm lost and their joyous laughter in my celebrations.

I KNOW that they are together and know each other; and I KNOW that even those with whom they disagreed in life are there and loved because to be in God's presence is to find the perfect peace, understanding, and knowledge beyond all earthly pettiness.

And when it is my time to go home, I KNOW that they will be there waiting for me with arms wide and I will be enfolded in a love that is beyond all imagining.

THAT is what my faith is to me. It is the peace, comfort, and hope in which I to walk every day. It is the life preserver that I cling to when I feel that I'm drowning in a world of pain, turmoil, and uncertainty. It is the hand I reach for in the dark, the sunlight that shines through the storms that this human existence spawns.

My faith is the air I breathe, the water I drink, and the pillow on which I lay my head each night knowing that no matter where I wake up in the morning, I AM LOVED.

I wish you all the peace and calmness I have found today through your love and God's grace.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And the dream is over...

We just got home from picking the girl up. She's been dismissed from the program. What happens next is a crap shoot. I'll be surprised if the judge doesn't throw her back in lockup. There is a part of me that thinks it would make my life easier, but the mother in me is aching for the loss of the dream of Seaborn being the key to her finally getting her head together enough to have a chance at succeeding in life. I'm afraid that may never happen. And it scares me to death.

The next few days are going to be rough. If I'm not around it's not because I don't want to be.

Peace and blessings to all who I know will have us in their prayers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Monday was a day of celebration that was nothing to celebrate about. As I was getting ready to take 2+ dozen cupcakes to Galveston for Daughter's squadron to help her celebrate her Happy Forever Family Day the phone rang. Seems Miss ASSter (I'm seriously thinking about permanently changing her name to that!!) decided that she would throw one of her classic fits and proceeded to: 1. Throw books at her team leader (their equivalent of a dorm parent); 2. Threaten to break the teacher's thumbs; 3. Kick a hole in the wall of the classroom. Yep, you heard it right - KICK a HOLE in the WALL. They wanted me to come down and try to get her calmed down. My first thought was, 'you are the professionals. what the heck do you want ME to do??' But, being the idiotic optimistic pushover loving mother I am, I hurried up and hit the road.

Forty-five minutes later I pulled in the parking lot only to be met by a very chipper, almost jubilant, daughter. She was all smiles and happiness. I, on the other hand was fuming. I guess my look said it all because she stopped dead in her tracks and started trying to explain. Explain?? Kicking a hole in the wall??? Threatening people?? How about explaining what happened to my Cadet of the Week?? Never mind -- I am so sick of her explanations that I could actually throw up. Anyway, as always, I took a deep breath and tried to hear what she was telling me.

First, she was not feeling well; hasn't been for a while now due to sinus and allergy problems. Monday morning she wanted to go to the nurse but they wouldn't let her because (pick one - it's a multiple choice pop quiz) A. they didn't care whether she lived or died; B. she uses it as an excuse to get out of doing anything she doesn't want to do; C. they hate her; D. THE FRIGGIN' NURSE WASN'T THERE AT THE MOMENT! If you answered D., you get a 100. If you answered B. you get partial credit. A & C, however earn you a trip to the Principal's office for thinking like a screwed up little snot who can't seem to get it through her head that the whole world does not revolve around her and just because things aren't going your way you shouldn't threaten people with bodily harm and KICK HOLES IN WALLS!!

Second, they tease her and call her names and pick on her all the time. And she just does not understand why the phrase, "I pulled a knife on my own mother. What do you think I'll do to you?" is sort of off-putting. Nor does she know why telling people, "I'm going to f-ing kill you/break your face/kick your ass/break your arm," hasn't won her a BFF there. And who wouldn't respect a classmate who sleeps/whines/complains/disrupts class/argues with the teacher/argues with the other students or just plain walks out every day?

After about an hour of talking to her, the assistant administrator, and a counselor we finally decided that she should come home with me for the night so that I could get her to the doctor for additional allergy medication. Plus, this gave her a chance get her head clear a little and get some much needed family bonding reinforcement time.

I took her back Tuesday morning. I didn't go in with her because this is her mess to have to straighten out. They were meeting with her to give her a chance to apologize to all concerned and convince them that she should be allowed to stay in the program. Since it's Wednesday night I haven't heard anything yet, I'm assuming that they let her stay. Either that or they had her probation officer pick her up and she's back in lockup. (They have 48 hours to notify me.) If that's the case, I should get a call sometime Thursday. Either way, it's out of my hands at this point. Thank God for small, albeit short-lived, favors.

Oh - and the cupcakes? Still in the back of my car. Thursday's trash day. I wonder if the garbage men would like some cupcakes.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meet the Kids: Daughter’s Broken Road Home

The first time she ever saw her new daughter is a memory that is seared into the heart of most mothers. That feeling is no different for me even though the first time I laid eyes on my daughter she was already 10 years old. And belonged to someone else.

In 2001, as a worship leader at the church I’d attended for several years, I was never shy about talking about my life. I’ve always felt that God wouldn’t have put me through all of it – good and bad – if He hadn’t wanted some greater good to come out of it. That summer a couple who had recently transferred to Houston started attending our church with their 9-year-old son. The morning that I witnessed about the miracle of my own adoption, the mother (we’ll call her MR for now) told me the story of the adoption of their son. She began asking my advice on how to best help him overcome some of the pains of his past and I was honored to offer whatever wit and wisdom I could.

In December, the boy’s sister was brought to visit him by the foster family she was living with. She was cute and sweet with big hazel-green eyes that spoke such sadness that my arms ached to fold her in and never let the world hurt her again. I was glad to learn that the foster parents were in the process of adopting her. Soon she would never have to be hurt again because she’d have a family to love and protect her. I hugged her and told her that she and I had lots in common because I was adopted when I was 10, too. We were a couple of very lucky girls, indeed! She didn’t seem to know how to handle being hugged. I thanked God again that He’d seen fit to give her a home to get her out of the cold system that had left her so distant and withdrawn. Little did I know on that Christmas Eve that in just a few short months her whole world would again be shattered.

On Sunday, June 30, 2002, MR and family, including the girl attended church. I was surprised, but strangely excited to see her again. She didn’t remember me at all. After the service MR asked me to pray with her. In the prayer room, out of her son’s earshot, she told me that the foster family was considering returning the girl to Children’s Protective Services (CPS) custody. She had become so violent and aggressive that they just couldn’t handle her anymore. She was “visiting” with her brother while the foster family made their final decision. My heart broke and I asked what I could do. MR asked me if I would talk to the girl and try to help her understand that her life could be better, but she had to want it. I agreed to take her on an outing on July 4th.

We met at the church and the little girl shyly agreed to come shopping with me while her brother’s family went to some boring Boy Scout meeting or something. I told her that I needed help picking out some gifts for a friend and since I didn’t have little girl of my own, I was hoping she’d help me decide what would be best. (Of course, she didn’t know that she was picking out her own stuff.) After a couple of hours of shopping we stopped for lunch at my favorite Italian food place and we talked about life as a foster kid and about how hard it was to be separated from her brother. After lunch we went to Target where she found a sweet little silver necklace she wanted to buy. It said, “Daddy’s Angel.” She bought the necklace with her own money so she could take it home to give to her “new daddy” after the adoption was finalized. It took every ounce of self control I had not to break down and cry right there. She had no idea what was going on in her world and only wanted to be loved enough to be considered somebody’s angel.

It was almost time to meet MR back at the church, so we went by my house because she wanted to meet the crazy bird, Mikey, and Tessa, the wonder dog I’d told her about. This was the first time she would meet my husband, too. No longer nervous and shy, she bounded into the house and smiled the smile that won his heart forever. She sat and talked easily about her love of animals and swimming. We invited her back to visit any time she wanted to play with Tessa or practice her backstroke in our pool. And then it was time to let her go. That night Hubby and I talked about what a shame it was that God hadn’t seen fit to give us a little girl of our own.

The next Sunday MR came to me crying saying that it was over. The foster parents had made the decision and as soon as it could be arranged they would be relinquishing her to CPS. By the following Sunday, it was done. I was devastated by the knowledge that she was about to become a statistic. A child lost in a system with no hope of getting out without a miracle. I knew then and there that I was supposed to be that miracle. Back at home after the service, I told Hubby what had happened. His first question was, “What do you want to do?” My response was swift: “I want her.” And without hesitation, he said, “Then let’s go get her.”

I’d love to be able to tell you that we rushed out right then and brought her home, but that would not have been a mature and responsible way of dealing with the situation. Believe me; the last thing I wanted to be was mature and responsible. I knew in my heart that the little girl God had meant to be my daughter was out there somewhere alone and hurting. Like any mother, the only thing I wanted to do was to get to her as fast as possible. However, I knew rationally that this decision would alter our lives forever. Hubby and I had to make sure that we were willing to take on a child with all the baggage this one carried. For nearly five years it had been just the two of us; free to come and go as we pleased. Were we truly ready to get back into the parenting game? On top of all that, the last thing we wanted to do was to take her and then end up having to give her back like all the others had. We spent several weeks praying about it and investigating the situation more. Finally, with August nearing its end, we knew that we were ready to accept her into our hearts and our home. I called CPS the next morning and learned that getting her home would be an uphill battle.

“Why would you want her? She’s already failed out of two adoptions.” was the first thing out of the case worker’s mouth when I told her that I was interested in this particular child. I’d already spent over an hour in long distance terminal hold and transfer hell just trying to get the case worker’s name. Now, I could not believe what I was hearing. “Why the HELL would you even ask me a question like that right off the bat?” I screamed back at her. I’d introduced myself and explained my relationship with the child. I’d already given her a brief synopsis of my history and life status. She’d listened without saying a word, and then THIS came out of her mouth?? I was furious to say the least.

Knowing that screaming at the woman wouldn’t help any, I took a deep breath and said “Tell you what, why don’t you give me your supervisor’s name and I’ll deal directly with that person since you don’t seem to want to do anything to help me, OK??” Despite my best efforts, it was dripping with sarcasm and venom. Dang it! I really hadn’t meant to sound so rude, so I was surprised when she immediately backed down and decided to start cooperating. She explained everything that we would have to go through to get approval to adopt. She said that she would send me the forms I needed to get started. Two weeks later, the forms still hadn’t arrived and I realized when she wouldn’t answer the phone or call me back that the case worker had no intention of allowing the girl to be placed in our home. She obviously had no idea with whom she was dealing. I picked up the phone and instead of calling her CPS office, I called my local division and asked to speak to the regional director. Finally, things started moving.

At the first meeting with our local people I explained that I wanted my daughter home for Christmas. They looked at me like I had three heads and said that things just didn’t happen that fast. It was already the second week in September and there was no way that we could get everything done and have her living with us in just 2-1/2 months. That was the first time that I said what would become the words that case workers, court clerks, and office staff members learned to hate: Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Tell me who I need to talk to to make it happen.

It took a monumental coordination effort involving three different government offices being required to play nice. And in truth, I think they were more scared of me causing some major trouble than they were concerned about my daughter’s well being. I didn’t care. My goal was to have her home by Christmas and I wasn’t letting anybody tell me that it couldn’t be done. We would take the required parenting classes in one county, have the home and personal investigations done through our local county, and schedule visitations with the girl through the county in which she lived. None of them liked not being in total control of the case. My standard response was: Tough cookies. I want my daughter home for Christmas.

On Christmas day, 2002, the child of my heart came home for good. Though the initial decision period is only supposed to be 6 months, Hubby and I refused to give in and allow her to be removed from our home when we weren’t ready to finalize in that short period of time. There were days when we truly doubted our sanity, but we never doubted that she was supposed to be ours. Nearly 16 months later, on April 7, 2004, we stood in front of a judge and committed to becoming a forever family.

Don’t get me wrong: this is not a fairytale ending where we ride off into the sunset with the birds singing and butterflies fluttering as the music crescendos to a rousing finish. It is a hard journey. It is a road that I would not recommend others walk unaware. But it is the right road for us. And even on the hard days, we bless the broken road that brought her home to us.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


'd I scare ya? Well, I scared me! Not because these things are pretty darn accurate, but because MY BRAIN HAS STOPPED WORKING! I was doing some catching up yesterday morning and ran across this somewhere. I remember the comment I left. Something to the effect of: This looks interesting, I'll have to try it when I get back in town (from my whirlwind, overnight roundtrip run to Fort Worth to see Twig). Well, I'm back, and I thought I'd pop this in while I get my real next post worked up. So what's the big problem? I CAN'T REMEMBER WHERE I FOUND THIS AND MADE THAT COMMENT! AACK!! Therefore, if you are that one, please leave me a note to jog my memory so I can give you credit for having pointed this fun out.

Getting old is making me a very scaaaaaary-forgetful lady.

You Are a Haunted House

You are a deeply complicated and sometimes deeply disturbed person.

You can't help but be attracted to the dark side of life - even when it's pretty gruesome.

In relationships, you are honest and real. So real that it's definitely a little scary.

You don't fake it or play along just to get along. And people either respect this... or deeply resent it.

Your life is thoughtful, deep, and even philosophical at times.

You see the world as it is. You don't sugar coat anything.

Facing and fighting your fears is important to you. You believe that too much of life is whitewashed.

You're not too morbid... you just believe that you can't enjoy life without exorcising a few demons first!
At your best, you are brave, intense, and fearless.

Not only do you face the abyss head on - you challenge your friends to do the same.

At your worst, you are depressed and morose.

If you're not careful, your thoughts take over your mind... and they aren't pretty!

I'll have some fun stupidity up later this week about the trip. But Monday is a very special day, so please check back then for a very special edition of Meet the Kids.
Wishing you Peace, Blessings, Love, Laughter, and just enough scary stuff to keep life interesting.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I was tired. After several weeks of sleeping on a cot I just wanted to close my eyes for a minute. So I turned backward on the hard, stiff-backed chair and rested my head on my hands. While I rested I thought back over what had brought us to this place on this day.

A couple of months before Twig was born in 1982 Mother called to ask if I thought she should go to the doctor after having bloody diarrhea. I asked her why she was calling me instead of the doctor. She decided that since it was only that one time, she’d wait and see if it happened again. Two days later she was in the hospital being transfused because of blood loss. When she hadn’t had any more episodes during her hospital stay, and the lower GI hadn’t shown anything, they let her go home with instructions to follow up with her primary care physician if she had further problems. A week or so later she had another occurrence and her doctor scheduled a colonoscopy. As it turned out, that test was performed on the day that Twig was born. Without telling me what was going on, Mom had the test in the morning and then came to the hospital and stayed with me until I delivered her second grandson. I could not have done it without her.

The initial test results came back while I was still in the hospital. (Back then when you had a baby they kept you for a minimum of 5 days.) She had some minor polyps that they sampled for a biopsy. Nothing to worry about, said her doctor. When they turned out to be malignant he told her that they were very small and repeated that there was nothing to worry about so it was ok for her to take a couple of weeks to clear things up at work before scheduling the surgery to remove them. Two weeks turned into nearly three months as she stalled and postponed always citing the doctor’s statement that there was nothing to worry about. By the time she finally underwent surgery, the very fast-growing cancer had perforated her intestinal wall and metastasized (spread) to her liver. They gave her less than two years to live.

She immediately started a very aggressive series of chemotherapy and radiation treatments that left her predictably weak and tired all the time. She underwent two more surgeries. She lost nearly 100 lbs. and all of her hair, but she never lost her positive attitude and infectious laugh. Or her hope.

While her sisters and some friends helped as much as possible, as her only child, it fell to me to try to take care of her and my dad during the times she was in the hospital. I arranged to have someone with her during the daytime while I was working and I spent nights sleeping by her side to make sure her every need was met. When the end came nearer I took a leave of absence and spent the last 2 weeks constantly by her side.

I am so grateful that I had that time with her. We talked about everything under the sun: shared joys and sorrows; all of our differences, grievances and mistakes. We laughed and remembered and apologized and forgave. Thanks to that time together, by the time I was sitting backward in the chair resting my eyes, there was nothing left unsaid between us – and no more time to say it if there had been. Sometime during the course of the last 24 hours she had slipped into a coma.

My husband touching me on the arm pulled me back from my faraway thoughts. Facing him, with my back to Mother, I opened my eyes and the look on his face said it all. “She’s gone,” he said so softly that it was almost a whisper. I later learned that he was looking at her face when one tear slid slowly down her cheek, she sighed and was still. The pain and humiliation she had suffered during her long, hard, struggle were finally over and she was at peace. At the age of 27 I became a motherless daughter.

Today marks the 24th anniversary of my mother’s permanent address change. While this date is always remembered and the loss mourned, this year has hit me particularly hard. You see, this year I am the age that my mother was at her passing: just a few months shy of her 52nd birthday. In my mid 20s, 50-something seemed so very far away. It seemed enough time to live a whole life. Now, sitting here I realize just how NOT enough it is. The reality of how young Mother was has gripped my heart causing pain unlike anything I’ve felt since 1984. I look at my life and think, how could I be dead today and it all have been enough? It can’t. Even a million more todays can never be enough time to love your children; to laugh with your friends; to hold your one true love; to see the light and joy in the eyes of your grandchildren when you walk through the door. The best that any of us can hope for is the grace and strength to live today with all the love, courage, compassion, and joy we can muster. And in the end be strong enough to help those we leave behind say goodbye.


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